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Spike Buck

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Canoeing silently at North Bend, I always have a deer encounter or two. Deer are curious about humans in silent conveyances. They'll stand and watch you draw closer and closer.

I've learned to paddle hard when I see a deer watching me, then put the paddle down and let my momentum carry me silently closer and closer.

I do that with all the wildlife, turtles, dragonflies, herons, woodpeckers, waterfowl, and especially kingfishers. It's a bit like shooting from a dolly. You have to swivel your body to accommodate the motion. I often wind up twisted like a pretzel, shooting back over my shoulder as my boat carries me up to and then past my subject. I also often wind up helplessly slamming into one of the ten bazillion snags in the water and laughing.

This lovely young buck has shed his red summer coat and the short gray hairs of his winter coat are just growing in.

I shoot again and again as he makes the decision to scram.

The ribs, never far from the skin in deer.

I marvel at the elasticity and springiness of deer, the potential energy stored in those haunches, the thump and bound locomotion that carries them kangaroo-like out of my sphere.

Ka-thump! Swish!

and he's gone.

He only went as far as the nearest shrubby copse, where he hid and watched me leave. Deer don't run any farther than they feel they need to, generally. He'd go on with his life and I with mine. But I had captured him, his liquid eyes and velveteen coat, in my magic black box, to look at again and again.


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Absolutely beautiful. The thought of canoeing and seeing deer is really something. Of course, just living in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio sounds idyllic on every level.

How do you manage to take all of us along on these serene and magical adventures? I don't want to get out of the canoe.

Lovely - we have dear here in NC

Wonderful pictures - both the photos and the story. A few days ago my husband and I paddled our kayaks into a shallow oxbow-like passage. Suddenly two adult deer and a big fawn splashed across the bend and disappeared into the foliage. We apologized and back paddled out.

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